Alex Baca in a journalist and bicycle activist living in Washington, D.C.
What was the food highlight of your year?
I finally ate at Blackbird. A friend and I were in Chicago in 2011 for the Promise Ring reunion show and wanted to try it, but our only free day was Sunday, and it was closed then. I was back in Chicago in April 2013 for a conference, and after realizing I’d never even get a bar seat at Girl and the Goat, I posted up at Blackbird. I had a horrendous cold and my taste buds were only operating at about 40 percent, but it was a phenomenal meal. I recall there being quite a bit of fennel.
What was the music highlight of your year?
The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die’s Whenever, If Ever has been pretty important to me. I listened to it endlessly when it came out in June. I love the way it sounds and, as a whole, it matches up well with the experiences I’ve had in 2013; “Gig Life” in particular really destroys me. While in Long Island with my boyfriend, he put Whenever, If Ever on in the car and, for the duration of it, I felt very young and very old. A few weeks later, I saw the band at D.C.’s Rock and Roll Hotel, which seems like an appropriate full circle.
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
On the first of the two Black Cat anniversary shows in September, Matt Cohen and I drank two bombers of pumpkin beer before ambling over. Neither of us ate dinner. At some point between Ted Leo’s super-high-powered “Me and Mia” and the beginning of a David Yow-ified Boys Against Girls, we looked at each other and said—or maybe brainwave-communicated, I’m not sure—”vegan lasagna.” I’ve drunkenly housed no small amount of Food for Thought’s vegan lasagna over the years, but this evening was a particular intersection of booze, Marlboro Reds, fake cheese, and D.C. punk. (A friend earnestly exclaimed, “There are, like, eight generations of scenesters here!”) Gray Matter played for an hour, but it felt like twenty minutes.